PARDI GRAS 2017
I keep trying to spread the gospel of Pardi Gras to everyone, but especially my New Orleans brethren. I’m actually quite amazed that Trop Rock doesn’t have a larger presence in my hometown, and hope that exposure to the great musical acts at Pardi Gras might generate more interest. This year’s event enjoyed typically fine weather, especially for the Saturday street party.
I met up with a lot of old friends and made a few new ones this year, both performers and Trop Rock fans. It was great, as always, to see Jerry Diaz, John Reno, Jeff Brewer, The Detentions (Chris Hillier and Dan Sullivan), Donny Brewer, Randy Brooks, Jim Hoehn, Sunny Jim White, Brent Burns, Matt Hoggatt and Steve Hopper. It was my pleasure to meet Kelly Brown, Reggie Starrett, Dave McKenney, Melanie Howe (and Kitty Steadman, although we didn’t get a chance to chat), Donald James and Bob Karwin. I didn’t get a chance to talk to Don Middlebrook or Larry Joe Taylor (whose set I really enjoyed on Sunday). Maybe next time!
One of the really great things about Pardi Gras is the opportunity to interact and perform with some outstanding artists. I was fortunate to appear on Eric and Gina Babin’s Trop Rockin’ the USA show, although I swear it wasn’t me who got the police called out. I have a few song ideas about that whole piece of drama—stay tuned. And a new event this year, the Saturday night jam session, offered me the great pleasure of playing some congas with some people I respect greatly—Jerry Diaz, Donny Brewer, Jim Hoehn, Dave McKenney, Kitty Steadman (really enjoyed backing you and Dave on “You and Tequila”, a song frequently included in my live show), Mike Miller and JR the phenomenal fiddle player.
The real highlight for me is almost always the Saturday street party, and this year was no exception. Starting off with the fantastic Boat Drunks, followed by The Detentions (TRMA Duo of the Year 2016 and guys that I am proud to call friends) and then Jerry Diaz and Hanna’s Reef (feel better Bud Byram-we missed you!). Again I am thankful for the great pleasure of joining Hanna’s Reef on congas for Kenny Chesney’s “Somewhere in the Sun”—another song on my set list—and singing a verse or two of “Margaritaville” with a bunch of great artists on stage.
On Sunday, when you might have thought things would wind down, there was another highlight—the Pirates and Poets Songwriter Show. Donny Brewer, Bob Karwin and Brent Burns performing together, sometimes lovingly referred to as “Fools on Stools” was a wonderful closeout to Pardi Gras for me. (Thanks Bob Karwin for getting your version of Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up” stuck in my head). The interaction between these guys was priceless and Donny’ new song “Cactus Moonshine” was another highlight for me.
So I encourage my local friends to attend Pardi Gras next year, and to listen to Trop Rock radio shows. You don’t know if you’ll like it until you try it—but I think you’ll like it. And who knew we’d get the chance to catch Jim Hoehn performing “Calling In Gone” at Louis Armstrong Airport—because we apparently needed just one more song to close out another great year. Look for the video on YouTube!
Thanks to Jerry, Mary, Casey and Danielle Diaz, Jon Burns, Dammit Earl Sanders and everyone who works so hard to make this event work. You are appreciated!